Barley Mowat 

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Some light reading to go with your Friday pint

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Two bits of beer news came up this week that I thought I’d pass along.

First up here is a good summary of the concept of floor rates for beer. Didn’t know that the government requires that beer bought at retail or in restaurants have a minimum price? Well, you do now. If it weren’t for the minimum price, we’d all be raving alcoholics don’tcha know?

Second, here is a proposal to label beer’s ingredients. Not for nutrition reasons, but to help people who have allergies to barley or wheat avoid allergic reactions. Nevermind that people with freaking Celiac’s disease tend to be careful about what they put in their bodies (“What? Beer has BARLEY in it!?!?”) And not just the normal ingredients list already proudly printed by many microbreweries, but rather a large conspicuous government-designed label.

Okay, so maybe it’s a bit over protective (what’s next? warnings on milk saying “Warning: Contains Milk”?), but there is a catch. Breweries have a large amount of floating stock in the market, bottles that are already printed up which are returned to the brewery after use. Not all of these have labels that come off in the cleaning process (think anyone who prints right on the bottle), and this law would require them to instantly replace all their floating stock at huge expense. A decision like that could put a small brewery out of business.

I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help but wonder if the big breweries are pro- or con- this proposal?

Written by chuck

January 21st, 2011 at 10:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

What Could Be

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I found myself in North Vancouver this weekend. After spending some time to ponder my situation and question every decision I had ever made in my life (since it led me to this horrible, horrible low point), I wandered over to Everything Wine and discovered that we Friends of Barley have much to be jealous of in terms of how the other half lives.

What in Gord’s sweet name am I rambling about, you ask? Everything Wine is a store that sells, well, everything related to wine. And while walking through its spacious and airy interior I found myself wondering why we have no such beast devoted to beer. Here are but some of their myriad benefits:

  1. Massive space, probably upwards of 7000sf
  2. Great selection of companion products, including serving ware, novelties, home brew kits, and good ole Random Shit
  3. Massive selection, including most titles carried by the LDB, and scads not
  4. If something is carried by the LDB, it is on offer for the same freaking price, if not less
  5. Buy 12 bottles and get a further 5% off
  6. For the truly lazy or permanently inebriated, they will even ship your order to you

Point 4 cannot be stressed enough, as it really does take the second-guess work out of patronizing a non-government store like Everything Wine. Sadly, rent is not always so cheap that these stores can afford to cut into their already thin profit margins by doing so, but at least this shows it can be done at all.

That an Everything Beer was not hiding around the corner saddened me deeply. I have no doubts that the local market could support such a beast, but we’d need the importers and local breweries to step up to the plate first in order to, you know, fill the damned thing with something.

A quick glance a the LDB website shows what I mean: 3,757 wine products in stock, 507 beer products. The imports are vastly skewed in favour of wine, but that is slowly changing. Beer-only or Beer-focused importers like BeerThirst and RainCity Brands are leading the way in getting us access to the >1500 breweries across the border to the south, and the thousands more in Europe that have yet to make their ways over here.

So, keep buying those crazy-good beers and they’ll keep replacing every sold out item with two more. Soon enough, you’ll turn around and notice that the Barley Barn has opened shop. (ooo… I’m registering that bad boy right now)

Written by chuck

January 18th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

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And now a list of breweries

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Please note a new link on the right there, and that’s my comprehensive list of breweries/brewpubs in BC. Or, at least, my best guess at such a list. It turns out this sort of info is surprisingly hard to track down.

I’ve created a new “Brewpub Producer” category to distinguish folks like Howe Sound from the smaller pubs that don’t distribute past their doors, but now that Central City has moved towards a full-blown off-site brewery I wonder if a third Brewpub category might be required.

And yes, I have separated Granville Island into two breweries because, let’s face it, the operation in Kelowna has very very little to do with the tap house in Vancouver.

As always, comments/questions/rants are welcome.

Written by chuck

January 12th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized